About the Keynote Speakers
Morning Keynote Speaker: Steven Pemberton
Steve Pemberton is a child advocate, motivational speaker, and author of A Chance In The World (Thomas Nelson 2012). He currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice-President for Walgreens, living a very different life than the one initially envisioned for him. He has become recognized as one of the nation’s leaders on matters of diversity and inclusion and its importance to the growth of the American industrial complex. In 2006, Fortune named Steve Pemberton one of the Top 20 Chief Diversity Officers in corporate America. In 2007, Steve was called to Capitol Hill to provide expert testimony on best practices in diversity recruiting and in 2008 he was named by Savoy as one of The Top 100 most influential African-Americans in corporate America.
A ward of the state for much of his childhood, Steve has made opportunity, access, and equality pillars of his personal and professional life. He is recognized as one of America’s most inspiring executives. His unconventional journey to corporate America has had a profound influence on the lives of others, inspiring young people, teaching professionals, and care givers about what is possible when you overcome tragedy and become more than your circumstance. A Chance In The World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home, is Steve’s riveting autobiography that chronicles his difficult path through foster care and his determined search for his family. It is an inspirational story that crosses generations and cultures, but specifically speaks to those who have had the odds stacked against them. His relentless journey to overcome, find his biological family, and right the wrongs of his parents’ past is a model for all families to follow. His powerful story has been featured in People Magazine, the Boston Banner, the Boston Herald, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chronicle News Magazine, and multiple news networks across the country.
Steve currently serves on several boards, including the Home for Little Wanderers and UCAN, to provide guidance and inspiration to children in need. The Pemberton Fund for the Future has been established in his name at the Home For Little Wanderers to assist children aging out of the foster care system.
Steve is a graduate of Boston College. He is married and has three children.
Learn more about Pemberton at A Chance in the World.
Afternoon Keynote Speaker: Amy Williams
Amy Williams, an 18-year youth ministry veteran, follows her passion to minister to teens involved in gangs, youth on probation/parole, and those lost in the juvenile justice system — at the core of which life-on-life mentoring is her key strategy. As a certified Gang Intervention Specialist, she heard God’s call to move into a Latino gang neighborhood in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community to be a “Hope Dealer” doing street outreach. Amy has pursued her calling as a youth pastor, reentry coordinator for paroled youth, and mentor trainer/coordinator.
She is currently pursuing her doctorate in ministry at Bakke Graduate University with a focus on urban youth and gang culture. A DeVos Urban Leadership alumni and North Park University Center for Youth Ministries Studies (CYMS) Advisory Board Member, Amy mentors other leaders across the country sharing her passion to reach as many youth with the message of hope through Jesus Christ.